How to Get a Copy of Your Prior Year's Tax Information
IRS Tax Tip 2016-25, February 23, 2016
There are many reasons why you may need a copy of your tax return information from a prior year. Transcripts are free and available for the most current tax year after the IRS has processed the return. You can also get them for the past three tax years. If you don’t have your copy, the IRS can help. Here are the types of transcripts to choose from:
- Tax Return Transcript. A return transcript shows most line items from your tax return just as you filed it. It also includes any forms and schedules you filed with your return. However, it does not reflect changes made to the return after you filed it. If you are applying for a mortgage, most mortgage companies require a tax return transcript and participate in our Income Verification Express Service program. If you are applying for financial aid, you can use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool on the FAFSA website to import your tax return information to your financial aid application. In both of these cases, you won’t have to request a transcript directly from the IRS.
- Tax Account Transcript. This transcript shows any adjustments made by you or the IRS after you filed your return. It shows basic tax return data, like marital status, type of return, adjusted gross income and taxable income, and other transactions such as payments you made.
Here’s how to get a transcript:
- Order Online. The fastest way to get a Tax Return or Account transcript is through the ‘Get Transcript’ tool available on IRS.gov. Although the IRS temporarily stopped the online viewing and printing of transcripts, Get Transcript still allows you to order your transcript online and receive it by mail. Just click the “Get Transcript by Mail” button to have a paper copy sent to your address of record.
- Order by phone. You can also order by phone at 800-908-9946 and follow the prompts.
- Order by mail. To order your tax return transcript by mail, complete and mail either Form 4506-T or Form 4506T-EZ. Form 4506-T can also be used to request other tax records: tax account transcript, record of account, wage and income and verification of non-filing.
If you need an actual copy of your tax return, they are generally available for the current tax year and as far back as six years. The fee per copy is $50. Complete and mail Form 4506 to request a copy of your tax return. Mail your request to the IRS office listed on the form for your area. If you live in a federally declared disaster area, you can get a free copy of your tax return. Visit IRS.gov for more disaster relief information.
Plan ahead. Delivery times for online and phone orders typically take five to 10 days from the time the IRS receives the request. You should allow 30 days to receive a transcript ordered by mail and 75 days for copies of your tax return.
Each and every taxpayer has a set of fundamental rights they should be aware of when dealing with the IRS. These are your Taxpayer Bill of Rights. Explore your rights and our obligations to protect them on IRS.gov.